Emotion recognition: Can AI detect human feelings from a face?

The market for the technology is growing rapidly despite questions from scientists about whether it works in decoding the state of mind of home-based students and workers.

Hong Kong-based 4 Little Trees uses Chinese faces to train its student surveillance systems, to improve local accuracy. One criticism of emotion recognition by algorithms is that it is not universally applicable. PHOTO: FIND SOLUTION AI

(FINANCIAL TIMES) - For most of the past year, students at True Light College, a secondary school for girls in Kowloon, Hong Kong, have been attending classes from home. But unlike most children around the world forced into home-schooling during the pandemic, the students at True Light are being watched as they sit at their desks. Unblinking eyes scrutinise each child's facial expressions through their computer's cameras.

The "eyes" belong to a piece of software called 4 Little Trees, an artificial intelligence program that claims it can read the children's emotions as they learn. The program's goal is to help teachers make distance learning more interactive and personalised, by responding to an individual student's reactions in real time.

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